How do you leverage cloud, AI and robotics to realize business outcomes? Well, it depends on where you stand today and where you want to go, according to the speakers from Microsoft, Mowi, Wallenius Wilhelmsen and Gartner who gathered at the first Snapshot Breakfast in Oslo (available on-demand).
Are you sleeping when the tech revolution is happening? According to Gartner’s CIO Study, Norway is slightly behind when it comes to digitalization compared to global top performers; 26% of companies haven’t got started yet.
To strengthen the competitiveness, it’s time to tap into the big tech shift and start the cloud, AI and robotics journey, according to Benny Walløe, Senior Director of Cloud and Infrastructure Services at Cognizant Norway. Start by asking yourself two questions: “Will technology be changing buying behavior?” and “Will buying behavior drive technology (r)evolution?”.
Microsoft Datacenters in Norway
Whoever has the right data will ultimately win; data runs like a common thread through the digital transformation and creates new opportunities, says Christopher Frenning, Director Cloud & AI, Microsoft Norway. The amount of data is growing tremendously: in 2020, we will have collected 44 zettabytes of data, available near instantly in digital form, and every hour one million connected devides are added to the internet.
Making sense of all this data, is a strong driver for innovation. At this point in history, the parallell maturing of three things enables a new level of creating value – access to Big data, powerful algorithms, and cloud computing – where business can combine data with intelligence. Cloud is necessary to support this, and soon, Microsoft will offer its cloud platform Azure from regional datacenters in Norway.
Mowi Automates Farming
Intelligence-infused data is certainly on global seafood company Mowi’s agenda. As the company made a conscious decision to improve its traditional operations through technology, it meant steering away from a labor intense business to a more knowledge intense and connected one.
According to Group CIO Marvin Dsouza, the mission is driven by hard facts: food supply must double by 2050 since the world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons in the next 30 years. Aquatic food plays an important role in feeding the growing number of people (47.5 million additional tons will be required), but 90% of the world fisheries are already fully or overfished.
Mowi’s farm-raised Atlantic salmon offers a carbon-efficient source of protein (the company has been ranked as one of the most sustainable protein producers) and the volumes can be scaled up. Here, digitalization and transformation of the value chain is key, and Mowi has set up a vision to become the world’s most automated farm.
The heart is an operations center where the entire value chain is integrated, farms remotely controlled in real-time, and decisions infused by AI. All data is to be stored in machine learning platforms to analyze, spot trends, and learn from. It can hopefully give tangible answers to questions like “Why do we lose some of our harvest?” and “When is the optimal to feed the fish?”. The aim is also to make the accumulated intelligence available as a resource, for the benefit of the whole industry.
A New Shipping Route
Donal Duggan, VP Business Performance at Wallenius Wilhelmsen, is also trying to navigate a traditional trade through a sea of change; the shipping industry is at the beginning of a fundamental transformation where connectivity, digitalization, and fossil fuel independency will set new standards.
As a market leader in “roll on roll off” shipping and vehicle logistics, with 130 vessels servicing 32 trade routes across the globe, the company wanted to set a data strategy to improve operations efficiency, enable new business models and achieve higher sustainability. Struggling with IT legacy and tech debt, one of the main objectives was to move from the traditional environment into a smarter one.
Implementation of a cloud-based data platform to support data-driven processes, intelligence and automation has been the first step. Currently, Wallenius Wilhelmsen is building a data lake in the cloud, a 3-month project that can be scaled up and deployed rapidly.
Gartner’s Cloud Advice
Are there any overall advice then to those who are embarking on a cloud journey? Anne-Cecilie Fagerlie, Executive Partner at Gartner, debunked some of the most common cloud myths that you hear from different vendors or other businesses.
Key is to focus on finding the best solutions that fit your (realistic) business objectives, be it cloud, non-cloud or a combination. It’s also essential to build a cloud strategy, driven by desired outcomes, that accommodates many options to have the agility needed as your business constantly evolves and to avoid lock-ins. Be pragmatic, use evaluation processes, test your assumptions and model outcomes, and most importantly: the best way to learn about cloud is to use it.
Everywhere you look, leaders in old and new companies are using technology in a wave of supercharged innovation that is creating incredible opportunities. And it’s a business narrative that extends beyond the usual digital suspects (e.g., Google, Facebook, Twitter).